Bengals Jessie Bates Jan 8, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III (30) before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals narrowly missed out on their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance this season, losing on a last-second field goal to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. However, reports have emerged that star safety Jessie Bates will likely not be on the Bengals next season.

Bates has been an integral piece of the Bengals’ defense for the past five seasons, but he will likely be elsewhere in 2023 after being franchise tagged this past offseason.

According to Bengals beat writer for The Athletic Jay Morrison via NFL insider Dov Kleiman on Twitter, Bates is “as good as gone” from the Bengals and is expected to become a free agent in March.

This is certainly a massive development for the future of the Bengals and many around the NFL world took to social media to offer their take on this report.

Cincinnati could seemingly franchise tag Bates again, but it seems like he will become a free agent otherwise. Even if they do ultimately decide to franchise tag him, there is likely a chance that he could sit out until he either receives an extension or is traded.

Bates has expressed his frustrations this past season with playing on the franchise tag and is unlikely to do so next season.

This creates an extremely intriguing potential signing for other interested teams around the league if he does indeed hit free agency. He has been extremely productive in his five seasons in the NFL, recording 14 career interceptions for the Bengals.

[Dov Kleiman on Twitter]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.